With only 13 official days left to what will be my last pregnancy, I am stopping to reflect on the experience and to see what I've learned. When I got pregnant for the first time it was the end of September, 2002 so that would have been almost 7 years ago. I figure between the four kids, I've been pregnant for a total of three years. I sure hope in this amount of time I've learned something!
One thing that I've learned is how LUCKY I am. I have never really had any morning sickness, no swelling (my wedding ring is on as I'm typing this), no complications of any sort that would cause me to worry about my health or the health of my babies. I have been able to work right up until I'm ready to stop on my own and have (somewhat) been able to keep up with the other kids. As far as the actual labor and birth goes, although it's never pleasant I've not had to deal with really any medical interventions and my recoveries have been very fast. I had both of the older boys at the hospital and was home in 24 hours and had a peaceful homebirth with William which was WONDERFUL!
Although I have no room to complain given how relatively easy my pregnancies have been, I do suffer from pretty bad backpain especially in this last trimester. It's almost like my lower back muscles turn to BONES, they are so stiff! I have a really hard time getting up from a seated position and sleeping is VERY difficult because every time I move, my back freezes up completely. Knowing this is my last pregnancy is definitely helping my attitude, but it is still challenging to deal with.
When I've gotten to this point in pregnancy, I have a strong sense of empathy for those who face physical ailments like this every day, especially the elderly. I have a light at the end of the tunnel, a day coming up soon when not only will I have no back pain but I will also have a precious newborn baby to cuddle and love. But elderly people must live with their persistent aches and pains without that hope that tomorrow they will feel better. In fact, chances are things will only get worse for them as time goes on. We hear a lot about old people being "crochety" and "mean," but how would it affect MY personality if I were faced with crippling physical pain every day? And while it's hard to remember this sometimes when you see an elderly person, they had their days when they were able to move freely, jump around, dance. How difficult must it be for them emotionally to realize those days are over?
So my pregnancies have taught me to be more considerate and understanding of people who are facing physical ailments on a daily basis. I do hope this is a lesson that stays with me for many years. And hopefully when it comes my time to start declining in my physical abilities, I will be able to accept it with grace and as much courage as I need to get through. And I also hope I always remember the sign in my mom's bedroom that says: "Don't regret growing older - it's a privilege denied to many."